How to Spot a Shady SEO Company

Shady SEO Company

Tons of companies are vying for the coveted #1 position on Google.

Together with the increasing demand to rank highly in search engine results are the increasing Search Engine Optimization services being offered left and right.

Google “SEO Service” and it will return over 4 million results.

Google search SEO Service

Every SEO company claims to be an expert, saying they can optimize your on-page and off-page.

Some will even promise to get your website on the first page of Google results in 6 months or less.

However, unless they can prove it, you really can’t tell.

You can spot a liar through eye contact. But when dealing with an SEO company, how can you tell if you’re working with the real deal?

Before I reveal that answer, let me briefly discuss what SEO is all about.

SEO is actually not that hard.

Marketing may have changed over time and you may hear about algorithm updates every now and then. But with SEO, the fundamentals remain the same. You just need to remember these two pillars of SEO:

Pillar # 1: On-page SEO

This refers to the strategies that you can control on your website. On-page SEO helps Google determine what your website is all about.

There are four things that you can base your On-page SEO strategy on:

  1. SEO best practices
  2. On-page SEO checklist
  3. Technical
  4. Relevance of content

All of these aim to check and optimize your page Title, Meta Description, Interlinking, Content, and the Alt Text for each image.

When On-Page SEO is done correctly, your company can enjoy the following benefits:

  1. Get good rankings more easily—Google can better understand what your pages are all about. You can easily rank high among low-competition keywords.
  2. High Click-Through Rate (CTR)—More people will visit your web page.
  3. Better user engagement—You get to engage with the right people who come to your site based on the keywords or buyer intent.
  4. More qualified leads are converted into your sales pipeline.

The On-page SEO is not a secret. Anybody can do it. But if everybody can do it (and they all try to do it really well), which web pages do you think Google will rank higher?


This is where link building comes in. Link building determines the authority of the website and helps Google identify which web pages should get a good ranking.

Link building is covered in Off-Page SEO, which is the second pillar of SEO.

Pillar #2: Off-page SEO

The authority of your website is determined by the “off-page” of your website. This is measured by the number of links which direct to your website.

When link building strategies are implemented correctly, your website will rank on competitive keywords and your website’s rank will get a boost, which translates into greater ROI.

Your link building efforts can build the Trust and Authority of your website. By having links that go to your site, Google won’t be able to resist giving you a higher search ranking.

Here are the benefits of having a strong off-page optimization strategy:

  1. You can publish new pages and get ranked very quickly.
  2. It ensures you achieve top placement in organic searches… and stay on top.
  3. You’ll earn trust from visitors to your page.
  4. You’ll get referral traffic from other websites.

Our company Bliss Drive created a case study on one of our clients, Carry Out Supplies.

The Carry Out Supplies Case Study

Carry Out Supplies previously had an average of 120 referring domains. You can see on the graph below that the backlinks are stagnant from May 2017 to February 2018.

AHREFS Carry Out Supplies

When we came on board, we improved their On-page SEO and ramped up their Off-page optimization.  You’ll notice a spike on the graph at around March 2018.

Currently, Carry Out Supplies has 300+ referring domains.

The increase of backlinks resulted in an exponential increase in Organic Traffic and Organic Keywords.

Organic Traffic – from 1K increased to 5K

Organic Keywords – from 2K increased to 8K

AHREF Carry Out Supplies

One of their target key phrases is “wholesale coffee cups,” which earned Carry Out Supplies the number one spot in the Google search results—appearing immediately after the paid ads.

AHREF Carry Out Supplies
Carry Out Supplies target key phrase is "wholesale coffee cups"

As referring domains increase (increase in backlinks), the Organic traffic and Organic Keywords also increase.

All the graphs above present a case that proves a properly implemented off-page SEO strategy makes a huge difference. And though it may not look that obvious, the graphs also answer the question of how to spot a shady SEO company.

So, how can we spot a shady SEO company?

  1. They can’t (or won’t) present graphs, which prove their SEO success.
  2. A shady SEO company doesn’t talk about their backlinks strategies—they refuse to discuss it or prefer not to reveal their specific strategies.
  3. They don’t use AHREFS, which is a great tool for serious SEO companies. Other companies may use tools like SEMrush and Spyfu.
  4. Their focus is on On-page SEO strategies and they are not doing much with off-page.
  5. They’re making amazing promises but not backing them up with proof.

Here’s a piece of advice: If what the company is offering you sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

SEO brings the highest ROI, right after email marketing. So, to make SEO work for you, you have to make sure you choose a professional SEO company you can trust.

Here are some things to look for when hiring an SEO company:

  1. Background: how long has the company been in the industry, who are their clients, who are the people behind the company, what are their past clients’ reviews, etc.
  2. Case studies: can they present a case study or past successes?
  3. Tools and strategies: find out how they approach their SEO campaigns


Choosing an SEO company to work with can be a challenging and confusing endeavor. Many companies offering SEO services sound pretty much the same.

Some may entice you with a lot of show and dance—always question their capability. Find out if they can really deliver.

The difference between a good SEO versus a not-so-good SEO are the backlinks that get implemented after the on-page optimization.

A good SEO company will provide both good on-page optimization and off-page strategies, which can bring your store from the middle of nowhere right up into all the action.

Learn how we can boost your company’s search engine ranking by booking a complimentary SEO Strategy Session. Give me a call now at 949 229 3454.

You can also visit us anytime at www.blissdrive.com.

Richard Fong is a highly experienced and successful internet marketer, known for founding Bliss Drive. With over 20 years of online experience, he has earned a prestigious black belt in internet marketing. Richard leads a dedicated team of professionals and prioritizes personalized service, delivering on his promises and providing efficient and affordable solutions to his clients.
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